We’re only a few weeks away from the launch of iPhone 12, but the eternal smartphone rumor mill is already releasing leaks and rumors related to next year’s iPhone 13.
Here’s everything we know about the iPhone 13
Of course, given the iterative nature of this industry, it’s hard to predict Apple’s trajectory two generations ahead when we don’t know exactly everything about the iPhone 12. As we’ve heard, with more than a month to go, some aspects, such as pricing and software features, could change in the final moments before release.
All that said, it’s very early to discuss rumors about the iPhone 13, and hence the classic warning that everything you see or hear should be taken seriously.
Nevertheless, some of these rumblings suggest exciting designs that could inform not only future iPhones, but also send ripples through the smartphone industry as we know it.
iPhone 13 release date
If the iPhone 13 release date matches Apple’s model for previous launches, we could see this device hit shelves in September-October 2021.
But the iPhone 12 release date is already hanging in the air because of the coronavirus pandemic and may not be available until October or even November for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It is possible that the coronavirus could delay the development of the iPhone 13, which would affect the final release date. But it’s too early to tell right now.
The design of the iPhone 13: could it be portless?
Imagine that iPhone 12 was the last generation of Apple phones to have a physical charging port in every model. It’s a shocking thought, but Apple might start phasing out Lightning ports starting with one of the iPhone 13 models, and USB Type – C won’t be there to replace it.
Yes. One portless iPhone is coming next year. There won’t be a USB-C. Eventually, they will all be portless someday.May 13, 2020. Instead, a tweet from tipster Jon Prosser makes it clear: There will be one portless iPhone in 2021, he says, and eventually they will all go that way.
“Never USB-C,” Prosser adds, killing some enthusiasts’ hopes that Apple will adopt the same standard as Android phones and the vast majority of other modern consumer electronics. The idea of a port-less iPhone may seem a bit ridiculous, but ironically, it has become more likely.
Ever since the European Union took steps to force all phone manufacturers to use a common charging port. Lightning has been a trademark since 2012, when it was introduced with the iPhone 5.
Instead of designing future iPhones to work with the same interface as all Android phones – at this point Apple will be missing out on the very lucrative accessory licensing market it has always enjoyed.
We speculate that the company would prefer to do away with ports altogether and turn to Qi induction as its overall charging solution. Qi is, of course, a wireless charging system common to all smartphones released today.
To do this, however, the portless iPhone will have to charge much faster without wires than current models. The iPhone 11 Pro’s wireless charging system runs at 7.5 watts-about a quarter faster than the new Warp Charge 30 wireless system in the new OnePlus 8 Pro.
Even Google’s oft-criticized Pixel 4 has faster wireless charging than the latest iPhones — 11 watts. But what else can iPhones afford without ports? Theoretically, eliminating the device’s biggest entry point would improve durability and water resistance.
It could also help make phones thinner in the future, though given the rapidly increasing size of batteries across the industry and the advent of particularly power-hungry 5G networks, it’s probably safer to bet that the iPhone in 2021 will be bigger and possibly thicker than the ones on sale today.
iPhone 13 notch and TrueDepth camera
The iconic iPhone 11 series notch, which dates back to the 2017 iPhone X, may be reduced to a narrower and thinner shape for the upcoming iPhone 12 range. It’s important to note, however, that Apple has allegedly experimented with doing away with the notch entirely for its yet-to-be-released 2020 flagships.
But this design has reportedly been introduced for future models. Exclusive: One of the prototype 2020 iPhones has a 6.7-inch display with Face ID and a TrueDepth camera system placed in the top panel. pic.twitter.com/sAJE7J12ty. September 26, 2019.
With that in mind, it’s possible that Apple could introduce this change for the iPhone 13. Last fall, leaker Ben Geskin posted a rendering on Twitter detailing how the system might work, embedding the entire TrueDepth system and earpiece into the phone’s top panel.
It’s reasonable to assume, though, that Apple will probably keep the Notch in the style of the iPhone 12 for the next generation, given that it has taken a more gradual, iterative approach to design in recent years.
The company may well introduce a more experimental model in 2021 — think no ports, but no Notch, either — along the lines of the original iPhone X. Of course, this is just a guess.
iPhone 13 Touch ID: will it come back?
Apple has never released iPhones with both Face ID and Touch ID before, though that could change for the iPhone 13. In fact, back in August 2019, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple was considering adding a built-in fingerprint sensor to its 2021 devices.
And that the company sees both biometric technologies as complementary, with the potential to work well together. Since then, more recent reports have even raised the possibility that Touch ID could be included in the iPhone 12.
However, these rumblings are less certain, with conflicting stories from several sources — indicating that the feature is probably more of a target for next year.
Given that the current version of Face ID can’t recognize people with masks, and Apple has changed iOS to better accommodate users with face masks.
We suspect the company should at least be thinking about how to bring Touch ID back in a smoother way. A patent recently discovered by AppleInsider sheds light on how Cupertino can pull this off using a sophisticated embedded display system.
Which uses an array of micro-lenses to focus the lenses on the subject’s fingerprint. In theory, this would improve readability, which is usually diminished by the transparency of the screen.
iPhone 13 specifications
Almost exactly one year ago, Apple bought Intel’s modem business for $1 billion. It was the only sensible course of action for Cupertino, which had been suing Qualcomm for years in patent disputes that left some iPhone models at a noticeable networking disadvantage compared to modern Android phones.
Apple and Qualcomm will eventually reconcile, of course, but it doesn’t matter-the iPhone maker wants to control its own destiny, not be beholden to a vendor with whom it has a tenuous relationship at best.
By the time the iPhone 13 is released, this team will have been working under Apple for nearly two and a half years, making 2021 the earliest it can launch its first phones with its own modem on board.
Still, 2021 will really push it forward, as Fast Company pointed out in the fall. Modem development takes a long time and goes through a lengthy certification process. The slightest delay could set back the project by a year, or even two.
It would seem that 2022 would be a safer bet, although the source cited by Fast Company believes that 2023 is actually a more realistic timeframe. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait until iPhone 15 to find out how Apple’s modems change the game.
Regardless of which company ends up building the modems inside the iPhone 13, a recent report from DigiTimes (via AppleInsider) claims that Apple may choose to focus the 5G modem in the iPhone 13 on either sub-6 GHz or millimeter-wave, depending on the specific market in which the phone will ship.
This is interesting because the iPhone 12 lineup will support both sub-6 GHz and mmWave across the board, or at least among the Pro variants. This may be a smart cost-saving strategy, but with networks in some markets (such as the U.S.) equally dependent on both wireless protocols, it’s far from an ideal solution.
The iPhone 13 Flip: Can it fold?
At this point, there is no evidence that Apple will release a foldable iPhone in 2021 along with the iPhone 13, although the possibility seems to intensify with each successive generation, especially as foldable devices become more common and affordable.
Apple has a number of patents to its name regarding phones with foldable displays, some of which are discussed in our center for all things iPhone Flip. Reports over the past two years have claimed that Cupertino has selected several candidates for flexible screens, hinting that Apple is definitely exploring this category.
Some third-party layouts and concepts look very tempting, but at this early stage they are more wishful thinking than educated guesses. When we get past the iPhone 12 launch and start looking seriously at the iPhone 13, we’ll probably have a better idea of whether a foldable version might enter the fray. In the meantime, we can only guess.
iPhone 13: What we want to see
We’ll likely start hearing the first concrete details about the iPhone 13 around the time of the iPhone 12 launch in the fall. That’s because Apple’s strategy with its upcoming phones will allow us to infer where it will go after that.
In fact, one of the earliest reports that Apple was planning a compact 5.4-inch iPhone 12 variant dropped last September, just days after the iPhone 11 series debuted.
The iPhone 13’s cameras are sure to get a lot of attention. (Image credit: Tom’s Guide). Here’s what we’d like to see with the iPhone 13 when it actually surfaces, beyond what the rumors suggest.
Faster wireless charging included in the box: If Apple is going to abandon the Lightning port once and for all, it needs to ramp up the slow wireless charging on current iPhones and offer some sort of wireless charging solution in the box with the device.
It’s hard to imagine Apple just telling customers to go with any old Qi pad they might have lying around, as it could lead to slow or inefficient charging; nevertheless, the company should treat its customers right here and pack one along with the phone.
128 GB, standard: this seems likely for the iPhone 12 range. However, if that’s not the case, Apple should go ahead and offer a base of 128 GB of storage in all iPhone 13 models.
It borders on insulting to spend over a thousand dollars on a premium smartphone that only packs 64 GB from the factory, especially given Apple’s aversion to microSD expansion.
Improved camera zoom: Either by hardware, software, or a combination of both, Apple should break through the iPhone’s photographic abilities when shooting from a distance.
Many smartphone users like to have a good extra-wide lens, but a strong telephoto lens is also important when you can’t get close to your subject. Perhaps Apple could learn something from Google’s Super Res Zoom, which uses clever algorithms to almost make up for the lack of a strong periscopic lens.
120 Hz Display: If you’ve never used a phone with this display before, the fast refresh rate display just makes every scroll, tap, task, and game much more responsive than on standard 60 Hz panels.
Personally, we’d settle for 90Hz if 120Hz was considered too expensive for battery life, but a faster refresh rate could make iOS even smoother than it is now, which is already pretty smooth.
We expect the iPhone 12 Pro, with its rumored flatter design, 120 Hz OLED Pro Motion display, 5G support and lidar camera, to form the basis for Apple’s 2021 devices. So keep a close eye on our iPhone 12 rumor page, In addition to this one, in the coming months as the future iPhone takes shape.